tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC November 6, 2017 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
he's not lobbying for you. tonight, shock>> waves from the church massacre here in texas. 26 people killed as they prayed. and we now know about half the victims are children, the youngest just 18 months old. >> we've lost a lot of people that are very close to our hearts and a lot of children are gone and i just ask everybody for prayers. >> eight members of one family, gone. >> they were a family like no other. >> tonight, the heroes who gave chase and took the gunman down. >> he told me that he just shot up -- the other man just shot up the church and we had to go get him. new details on the
he sent before the shooting, possible clues to why he targeted that church, and the guns, how he was able to buy them even with a history of domestic violence. also tonight, a mystery in kentucky. senator rand paul left badly injured after police say he was attacked by his neighbor. but nobody is saying why. and late word, a major university bans all fraternities after another tragedy on an american college campus. mpus. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt reporting tonight from sutherland springs, texas. good evening, a painful season of mass killings from a las vegas concert to a new york city bike path sadly brings us to sutherland springs, texas tonight, suffering through the all too familiar rituals of shock, pain, and mourning in the world spotlight. behind me, the tiny church that embodied the faith and hope of its members that became a place of such horrific violence. at least 26 people
opened fire outside and inside the church during sunday service. 20 others were injured. the victims ranging in age from 18 months to 77 years. at least a dozen of the victims were children. this community's answer to such evil -- unity and the comfort of friends and strangers alike. a vigil last night channeling the hurt and loss into a tribute to those who were murdered and to the power of strength and resilience. we start our coverage tonight with nbc's gabe gutierrez. >> reporter: tonight, the sheriff here says about half of those massacres were children, the youngest just 18 months old. eight members of one extended family gunned down while they prayed. in just minutes great grandfather joe holcomb told us he lost three generations, including brian and brian's wife carla. >> they were a family like no other because brian and carla would give you the shirt
their back. >> reporter: debbie has known the hole comes for 30 years and says he was so given he planned to donate this building where he'd run his small business to a nearby church. >> >> you don't run into people like the holcombes everyday. >> reporter: on sunday he was leading the first baptist church in prayer. he was filling in because the pastor was out of town. shots rang out, brian's wife, son and granddaughter were killed. the day before the shooting, crystal holcombe bragged on facebook about her daughters emily and megan who had done well in a 4-h competition, crystal who was pregnant, both girls and their brother greg were killed. >> that's an incredible, incredible devastating loss to this community. >> reporter: the church's pastor frank pomeroy and his wife sherry lost their daughter, too, 14-year-old annabelle. they rushed home when they heard the awful
[000:03:58;00] belle yesterday. and one thing that gives me a slifver of encouragement is the fact that she was loved fiercely. our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday. >>. >> reporter: joanne ward and her children brooke and emily were also shot and killed. another daughter, rhiana, hid, a bullet shattering her glasses but she survived. so did her six-year-old brother who was shot multiple times. in this tiny town, population about 700, the loss is staggering. >> whatever life brings to you, lean on the lord rather than your own understanding, i don't understand but i know my god does. that's where i'll leave that. >> reporter: 20 people were wounded, the most serious rushed to a mo
hospital in san from gunshot wupounds. tonight at least 15 people are still hospitalized include an adult and children two children who are in critical condition. >> thank you, gabe. as this community mourns, we are getting harrowing witness accounts of how it unfolded and stories of incredible heroism as good samaritans leapt in to try to stop the killing. police say devin kelley started firing outside the church before unleashing a rampage inside. kevin jordan was home across the street. >> i saw him, the guy shooting. i saw him shooting towards it. and then i just ran inside and took my wife and my son and we hid in the bathroom. >> god's understanding is far greater. >> reporter: 24 video showing a previous service inside the church, a tiny room, barely a place to hide. kelley had parked his car nearby and walked
to the church, passing near one of sutherl stations. this is where you normally work? terry smith, who operates a restaurant here, was watching in terror. >> he was shooting. all you could see was him jerking like this. >> from the outside of the church? >> from the outside. on this side and he started like a rapid walk and kept on shooting and went all the way around the building. >> did you see him at some point go inside the building? >> when he came around, all the way around, we had customers out here and so we started yelling for them to get down, that there was a shooter, to get down so we were all on the ground holding to the door. it was so rapid, rapid and then one of the victims came running from that side and he came running across the street this way and he was running like this, he had blood all over his
arms and face and we let him in and he said there's a shooter. he shot everybody in there, my family's in there, my family" and he just collapsed there on the floor. >> meanwhile, a neighbor armed with a rifle started firing at kelley when he tried to escape. that neighbor coming up to jonnie lagendorff's truck. >> he just says "that guy just shot up the church, we'll follow him." i said "let's go." >> that's all you knew, he shot up a church. >> nothing else. we were doing about 90, 95 miles an hour all the way down 539 until the gentleman -- the shooter seemed to lose control of his vehicle. >> kelley was found dead inside. now tonight in a town where hardly anyone locks their doors, the questions -- why did this happen? how do they move on? >> our community is a very humble community. it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor or, you know, the best or anything, it just -- everybody
helps each other. er everybody. it -- it's devastating. >> after the interview terry came back up to me and said "please tell the american people that we are good people, that we are a good community." and anyone who has come here, i don't think, would take exception to that we're also learning much more tonight about the gunman, his violent past and what may have motivated his attack on the church here. plus new details on why he shouldn't have been able to legally purchase the gun used in sunday's massacre. nbc's stephny go nnstephanie g has the latest. >> reporter: when devin kelley opened fire on this church in texas, officials say it was not a random target. he deliberately attacked the place where his wife's parents worshipped. they were not at service sunday. >> the suspect's mother-in-law attended this church, we know he made threatening texts. there was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws. >> reporter: while speeding from the
scene, the 26-year-old's final call may have been to his cell phone to notify his father he had been shot. >> reporter: kelley's recent past was troubled, court-martialed in 2012 while serving at u.s. air force base holloman in new mexico, he was found guilty of beating his first wife and fracturing his baby stepson's skull. the couple later divorced. the military confined kelley for a year and discharge ed him for bad conduct. that was the military equivalent of a felony conviction and federal law makes it illegal for anyone with a felony to buy a gun. but records show kelley purchased four guns in the years after his conviction. a ruger ar-556 assault rifle like this one used inside the church, two handguns found inside his suv and a fourth weapon that was not found at the scene. his conviction never came up in his background checks. the air force tonight says its criminal investigators failed
to put information about kelley's mili c nbc news also spoke with two former girlfriends who say kell kelley's behavior was obsessive and at times threatening. >> there was one day, though, that he just would not stop calling me. >> reporter: how many times would you say he called you during that day? >> i would say probably like 30 back to back. >> reporter: brittany adcock met kelley when she was 13, the repeated calls started after she broke up with him. >> it made me nervous. >> reporter: kelley had trouble at work. as recently as this summer he was fired from a nearby water park. the park confirming he worked as an unarmed security guard for just five and a half weeks. tonight the air force announced it is opening a review of how devin kelley's criminal record was handled. meanwhile outside his parents' home where he's believed to have lived, it remains an active crime scene, lester? >> stephanie gosk, thank you. the tragedy here on the heels of the massacre in las vegas, two of the deadliest
mass shootings in thrusting the debate over gun control into the national conversation. president trump has now weighed in while traveling overseas on a trip through asia saying this "isn't a gun situation but rather a mental health problem." we get more from our white house correspondent hallie jackson traveling with the president. >> reporter: it happened again, a shooting then tweets, thoughts and prayers. >> who would ever think a thing like this could happen? >> reporter: and on gun control, any debate delayed. >> i think mental health is your problem here. but this isn't a guns situation. we could go into it, but it's soon the go into it. >> reporter: too soon, the president says, echoing his comments last month two days after the worst mass shooting in u.s. history. >> we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by. >> reporter: today presidential pushback on the idea of any new gun laws. >> fortunately somebody else had a
gun that was shooting in the opposite direction bad as it was it would have been much worse. >> reporter: second amendment advocates that's why the government shouldn't add more regulations like on the kinds of semiautomatic weapons used in aurora, orlando, las vegas and sandy hook. children died then, too, 20 of them. that's what led shannon watts to become a gun control advocate. >> talking about mental illness after a mass shooting is absolutely a political diversion. >> reporter: the ar-15 is one of the most popular firearms in the country but twith the national shooting sports foundation estimating between five and eight million are in the u.s. right now. >> the government cannot protect us, it's shown they cannot protect us, just that they can't be where the bad guys are and for us to discuss legislation is to discuss how many angel cans fit on the head of a pin. >> the preside>> reporter: the president is monitoring all of this from asia where we are
just acrosshe here president trump will work to build a relationship with the south korean leader with white house officials saying he won't stop his tough talk when it comes to kim jong-un. lester? >> hallie jackson in seoul. when president trump arrives in south korea, he will be about 30 miles from the dmz. this weekend in seoul i sat down with south korea's foreign minister who is hoping the president will demonstrate his resolve for a peaceful solution to the north korean crisis. this administration was propelled into office on a pledge of america first. did that make south korea nervous? does it still make south korea nervous? >> i think every u.s. administration wants to find the right phrasing for how it positions itself in the global scheme of things and this is certainly mr. trump's phrase. but i don't think it's entirely new.
i think it's just one way of america's interest in this. but it's not america alone alone. it's america working with other countries. >> part of my conversation with south korea's foreign minister ahead of president trump's visit to that country. overshadowing the president's critical foreign trip tonight, new questions about hiss administration's ties to russia. millions of documents known as the paradise papers leaked by a law firm in bermuda are putting the president's commerce secretary wilbur ross under new scrutiny. it all comes as the russia probe is expanding. nbc white house correspondent chris ken welker has more on that tonight. >> reporter: tonight, commerce secretary wilbur ross fighting back after accusations he failed to disclose ties to a firm linked with top russian oligarchs, including russian president vladimir putin. >> i think it's just an example of the
press trying to find anyt t silly to attack the president and somehow link him to russia. this is nonsense. >> reporter: the leaked documents were viewed by the international consortium of investigative journalists show ross owns a stake in navigator, one of their biggest customers is sibur, a russian oil firm owned in part by close associates of putin's, including his son-in-law and two other oligarchs who are targets of u.s. sanctions. ross says he disclosed those business ties. >> it was disclosed on the form 278 which is the financial disclosure form in my case three times. >> reporter: while ross indicated he intended to keep his partnership with navigator, he didn't disclose its connection to sibur or russia. >> i've asked for an inspector general investigation. i want all of the facts from that investigation. >> reporter: back in court today, paul manafort whose request to get out of home
confinement was denied and increased scrutiny of ousted n multiple sources familiar with the investigation tell nbc news federal investigators have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in their investigation of flynn and his son michael g. flynn. all of it will be front and center with president trump expected to meet with president putin in vietnam later this week. lester? >> kristen, thank you. still ahead, the u.s. senator assaulted at his own home, the injuries more severe than first revealed, his neighbor under arrest but the motive remains a mystery. we'll have more also, the dramatic step a major university is taking against fraternities and sororities after a pledge's tragedy. stay with us. depression is a tangle of multiple symptoms that can make you sad, feel tired, and have difficulty concentrating. trintellix is a prescription medication for depression. it may help you take a step forward in improving your depression.
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try metamucil, and begin to feel what lighter feels like. we' we're back now with questions swirling around the violent assault on a u.s. senator. the fbi has joined the investigation after senator rand paul's neighbor attacked him at his kentucky home fracturing five ribs. the motive remain pass mystery. nbc's blake mccoy is there with the latest. >> reporter: tonight, rantd paul still out of the public eye after that stunning attack. his neighbor, 59-year-old rene boucher now charged with fourth degree assault for friday's incident inside the gated community where both men live. boucher's home right next door to senator paul separated by a grass lawn. two sources familiar with the incident say senator paul was mowing his lawn wearing head phones when boucher attacked
him from behind. paul's office saying the senator is in pain and has five rib fractures. >> we're in the midst of another spending frenzy. >> reporter: paul, a key republican who ran for president last year. so what prompted the incident? neighbors say the two have disagreed on everything from politics to their property line for years. >> i think their disagreement was probably over where a leaf or twig fell on the tree. >> reporter: tonight boucher's attorney saying it has absolutely nothing the with either's politics, it was a very regrutable dispute over a matter most people would regard as trivial. rand paul tweeting he appreciates the overwhelming support after friday's unfortunate event "thank you for your thoughts and prayers." tonight boucher is out on bond. blake mccoy, nbc news, bowling green, kentucky. coming up as we continue tonight, how one american woman made history at the new york city marathon. acific?
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not more politics. tonight, florida state university has announced it will indefinitely suspend all fraternities and sororities after the death of a pledge apparently linked to alcohol and another fraternity member facing cocaine charges. fsu is at least the third major university to suspend greek life after an alcohol-related tragedy following penn state and louisiana state. and some happy news. congratulations pouring in for u.s. distance runner shalane flanagan scoring an upset victory in the new york city marathon, the first american to win the race since 1977. what victorious scream at the finish line for the massachusetts native and four time olympian in what could be her final race. if it is, what a way to go out. we'll take a short break and we'll have more from texas when we come back, the impact of the tragedy. everyone here knew someone inside that church. to make decisions when you know what comes next.
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here. here's gadi schwartz. >> reporter: heart of sutherland sprin springs, the parking lot is now full of police, sherry pomeroy is the pastor's wife. >> we ate together, we laughed together, we cried together, and we worshipped together. >> reporter: people who live here are in shock. today they wore wristbands given to those searching for loved ones and mary has lost eight. >> there's at least eight that i can think of right off the bat. >> reporter: mary is a regular of the first baptist church, a sanctuary where decades of baptisms, bible studies, sunday services and fellowship dinners held this community close. this sunday, mary felt compelled not to attend, but her next door neighbors went. >> so hard breaking. it is. they helped me out a lot. >> reporter: their home is still empty. dogs sitting on the porch waiting for owners and some will never return.
springs, texas. >>break here. [000:29:17;00] independent press says they're false. fear mongering. absurd. ralph northam went to vmi and was an army doctor for eight years. in richmond, dr. northam helped pass longer sentences for gang members and mandatory life sentences for violent sexual predators. ralph northam: i'm ralph northam, candidate for governor, and i sponsored this ad because i'm a pediatrician, and for ed gillespie to say i would tolerate anyone hurting a child is despicable. i think it is, i think it's a seismic shift. >> only on "access," ben affleck reveals how he's personally dealing with hollywood's harassment issue. as uma's powerful words to "access" gain even more